Antibiotics have been the cornerstone in the treatment of infection by the medical profession since the development of penicillin in 1928 by Alexander Flemming. Unfortunately, due to the misuse and over prescription of antibiotics, the world is losing some of the most powerful tools in allopathic medicine. Antibiotics are becoming less and less effective at fighting infections that have been easily treatable for decades could become deadly if the current growth of antimicrobial resistance continues.
"Globally this is a really big issue," says Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general for health security at the World Health Organization. "We are seeing the same patterns of resistance basically occur everywhere." In Europe alone, 25,000 people now die each year from infections that used to be treatable with antibiotics, Fukuda says. Some infections acquired in hospitals have become almost impossible to cure. The WHO is calling for every country to have a system in place by 2017 to monitor for drug resistance. It also tries to reduce the use and misuse of antibiotics in health care settings and agriculture. The plan calls for more investment in new drugs. It even emphasizes the need to cut the incidence of new infections with simple measures, such as increased hand-washing in hospitals and clinics.
Individually, our greatest concern is to keep our immune system functioning at it optimum and only use antibiotics when appropriately prescribed and as directed. Here are some natural ways to fight infection so that if the need arises to take antibiotics they will be effective:
Get enough rest and drink plenty of fluids. Eight hours and eight glasses should be your rule of thumb. If you are feeling fatigue supplement those with an afternoon nap and increased water intake. Add a slice of lemon to your water.
Eat a diet rich in Vitamin A, C and E. Food is your best source but supplementation is helpful when your diet is less than optimum.
Get plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Bundle up to stay warm and dry in the cooler weather.
Use a humidifier with essential oils like eucalyptus when you are sleeping
Add immune boosting herbs like Echinacea, garlic and goldenseal to your diet or supplement regiment. Zinc is also a mineral particularly effective in fighting infections.
Take a probiotic daily to ensure normal bacteria in your body that helps fight invading pathogens. This is even more crucial when taking an antibiotic for treatment.